Storing Sunlight in my Bones

Cold drops like a hammer, and with it snow, not much but enough, and in the early hour I drive to the crest of the mountain, where an old logging road provides ingress to a vast swath of public forest. It’s eight below zero, the sun just clawing its way above the horizon; the hillsides ahead of me shimmer in light, though I remain in the shadows until I break out of the woods onto a shallow body of water known to the locals as Dead Moose Pond because they once found a decaying moose in its waters. The ice is thin, but my long skis distribute my weight, and I circle the edge of the pond twice, sun on my face, lungs full and satisfied, the snow of that magical consistency that allows me to imagine I might never tire, that I could circle this pond for hours and hours. I’m storing sunlight in my bones, I think, because that’s what it feels like, though I have no idea if such a thing is possible or even makes sense.

Despite the magical snow, I ski for only a scant hour, then return to the car, the old logging road still caught in morning shadow. My fingers and toes ache with cold, and I run the heat high as I descend the mountain, driving fast until I catch a flatbed truck carrying big bales of hay stacked high, flecks of dried grasses dancing in its wake.

12 thoughts on “Storing Sunlight in my Bones”

  1. 2 days before solstice, I arrive home from Belgium, 500 miles north. I am angry when I wake. I wait for dawn to come. It doesnt. stars still out. How can that be? im further south in the same timezone but the sun is blesising the world later than further north. Mmm. WTF!?! Ive always counted days down before the longest nd shortest days, and i think like youi I got that affliction from my Dad. And froim my blessed Father I also try to ignore the opposite: after the longest day passes, I push away thoughts like “good morning Simon. we are 3 days past the summer solstice, so that means 2 minutes and 55 seconds less sunlight today than yesterday” for example. Ha ha. But actually I feel very greatful to my poor, much maligned (mostly deserverdly so it must be added) father fopr this obseesion. For in spite of where I find myself, in a forest of trees or a dersert of sky scrapers, if either solstice is approaching at speed I always, always, feel itg in my bones. Ciao Sim

  2. Every so often I check your blog to see how life in VT is going for you. See, I’m a New Englander by birth and a half of my heart. The other half lives in the high Rockies of Colorado. Your writing has a beautiful way of plopping me right next to you in the beautiful Green Mountain State, and there are similarities with Colorado, for sure. Especially the cold and snow and forests. It brings my heart back together, the imagery and smells and humidity in the air even. Makes my heart feel whole again, reading about New England. Home. And also makes it seem not so far away since I love xc skiing with my dogs at night by the light of the moon, if lucky enough. And the cadence of the days and nights, work and rest, light and darkness, cold and warm. Not so different, yet thousands of miles from home. Peace.

  3. Happy Winter Solstice Hewitts,

    It is 50 degrees in Omaha today, maybe tomorrow too, warm enough to do outdoor work that didn’t get done and still needs to get done. Then it will be back into cold winter weather, but hopefully without any precipitation.

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